Can’t tell your Periscope from your Meerkat? Enjoy this essential business guide to the  new video platforms

by Kenny Murray

Friday, January 8th, 2016

Your at-a-glance guide to the movers and shakers in the fast-changing world of online video services

Baby meerkatIN THE real world a meerkat is an amusing-looking and nosey little mammal made popular by a series of clever telly ads. And a periscope was what vintage submariners used to get a view of the outside world.

However, in the fast-moving web world Periscope and Meerkat are the latest video sharing services which let anyone with a smart phone become an instant broadcaster – any time, any place, anywhere.


A video camero operating shooting videoRead our detailed post explaining the full background on the Peculiar Case of the Periscoped Puddle and what lessons business like yours can take from the unlikely phenomenon


 

While both are beloved of social and digital media’s chattering classes, to the rest of the population they are all but unknown. Indeed most business people would probably raise their eyebrows and shrug at mention of the latest wackily-named crackpot ideas from the internet.

However, those of us who watch social media have been waiting for the tipping point – a cultural staging post where Periscope would change from a niche-but-tendy service into something mainstream. That tipping point may just have come thanks to a recent phenomenon which saw millions of people tuning in to watch a puddle on a nondescript public footpath in Newcastle.

 Your business may already have tested video for your website, YouTube channel or Facebook page. Heck, the more adventurous may even have dabbled with 15 second videos on Instagram or eight second video shorts on Vine.


Nine types of video to benefit businessesCheck out our essential business guide on nine ways your company could be delighting customers, celebrating staff successes and generating greater profit with the help of professional business video from Holyrood PR


 

However, the video landscape is changing again. While the Periscope puddle case gives one indication of what’s to come, it is worth asking, what else is coming down the road for video?

Quite simply video is key to the future of digital ande online succes for businesses. Most social media channels are giving it prominence and putting emphasis on sharing the best video content across their network. So, here is an at-a-glance guide to the main movers and shakers likely to be setting the pace during 2016:


1 – REAL TIME VIDEO STREAMING – PERISCOPE AND MEERKAT

Periscope logoPeriscope  is Twitter’s major gamble in the realtime video streaming arena.

While Twitter users’ message are capped at just 140 characters, Periscope allows anyone to become live broadcasters who can rival the BBC or Sky with nothing more than the mobile phone in their pocket.

The app was launched in 2015 and while it proved an instant hit with social media afficionados it has barely crept into the public consciousness. Broadly speaking the average man and woman on the street is still none the wiser about the service.

However no-one should write this off. If the enormous reach and buzz created by “the Puddle” doesn’t tell you that there is potential here, then simply follow the money.

Like the most successful platforms of today, a sign of Periscope’s likely success is that a hard core of passionate users are not only dedicated to using the app in every imaginable way – but a growing number are making money from it, as this article from MarketWatch attests.

Meerkat logoBut Twitter and Periscope have at least one serious rival – in the shape of Meerkat, which launched to huge acclaim weeks ahead of Periscope. It is a live-streaming video app which is broadly similar to Periscope, with passionate users who insist it is actually better.

In fact, Meekat was the breakout hit from the huge South By South West (SXSW) festival in 2015. SXSW is known as the launchpad for tech success stories – including Twitter itslef in 2006.

However, the early fizz of Meerkat’s triumphant launch turned a bit flat when Twitter announced the $86.6 million purchase of Periscope and users started to migrate to the newer platform, which benefited from being integrated with Twitter. That said, Meerkat’s users love the service, particularly the way it keeps adding new and improved services.

While the gloves are off between the two giants, expect a swathe of other live streaming services to emerge over the coming years.


 

2 – IMMERSIVE VIDEO – FACEBOOK AND ITS OCULUS

A man wearing an Oculus Rift headsetLooking back,  2015 was the year that Facebook video really took off (who hasn’t seen autoplay videos in their news feed?) and saw the social networking giant become the main threat to YouTubes’s decade-long dominance of online video.

Yet that’s only the start of Facebook’s vaulting video ambitions.

Several years ago the company caused a stir in tech circles when it bought a little-known start-up called Oculus, which makes Virtual Reality (known as VR) headsets. Jaws dropped when it was announced Facebook had shelled out a cool $2 billion for the untested and fledgling business.

Oculus Rift headsetIn 2016 Facebook’s Oculus Rift headset will finally go on sale to the public (pre orders are currently being taken at $600 a pop) and “immersive video” will take a step closer to becoming genuinely mainstream.

What does that mean exactly? Well, when a user puts on the Oculus headset they experience a video experience in 360 degrees. In essence, delivering the kind of near seamless virtual reality that sci-fi writers and futurologists have been drooling over for several decades.

Perhaps unsurprisingly this is causing tremors of excitement among computer games manufacturers. However its potential for all sorts of business goes far beyond that.

It is also being tested by sports teams to allow supporters  to have the experience of sitting in a stadium when they are actually at home.  Or imagine watching a boxing match, while actually seeming to be in the ring with the fighters. How about putting a bet on a horse race, then enjoying the entire spectacle from the saddle of the horse you backed?


 

3 – IMMERSIVE VIDEO – GOOGLE AND GOOGLE CARDBOARD

Google cardboard - woman using headsetMeanwhile that other internet giant, Google doesn’t intend to be left behind.

It is already offering an unbelievably cheap VR headset, known as Google Cardboard. Costing just a few quid it is literally made of cardboard and allows users to slot an Android mobile phone into the front and experience immersive video.

While the technology is still relatively basic, it is also incredibly affordable. So much so that Google recently gave away Cardboard headsets with hundreds of thousands of copies of the New York times. Read more about that successful campaign by following this link.

While we’ve already touched on some of the uses for this kind VR technology it is also being eagerly awaited by the likes of estate agents – to allow people to walk around homes for sale, without leaving the comfort of their home or office.

What could that kind of technology bring for your business? Might your customers enjoy a virtual reality tour of your manufacturing processes? Or a walk through tour of the offices where you handle their account?

Beyond that there are amazing training opportunities. What if trainee surgeons could carry out incredibly lifelike operations or mechanics or engineers could experience exactly how to carry out highly technical or difficult repairs in a totally safe environment.

And those are just obvious cases for starters – we’re sure you can think of plenty of ways this could work for your business?


4 – YOUTUBE AND 360 DEGREE VIDEO

If virtual reality is still just a wee bit too out therre for you to put your faith in then 360 degree video might be just what you are looking for.

Imagine if you want to sit down and watch a video shot from the inside of a stunt plane cockpit. You’d find plenty of examples on YouTube, stretching back many years.

Now imagine if you could take that a step further and, while watching the video, you were able to move the cursor and change the view, without the video pausing or stopping. You could pan left, right, up or down – rather than only getting the view from a fixed camera angle.

You don’t have to imagine, because this is possible right now – as this YouTube video of the Blue Angels (the US equivalent of the Red Devils) shows. Use the navigation arrows at the top left of the screen, or click and drag to see all around (you can even look behind the pilot to see his passenger!)

In fact YouTube recently announced it would begin hosting 360 degree videos for anyone who cares to upload them (a wide range can be found at this link).

At one time the prohbitive cost of 3D cameras meant they were available only to major studios with megabucks. However the prices keep coming down and 360 degree rigs have been created with a series of affordable Go Pro cameras.

In fact, basic consumer model cameras which can take passable 360 degree footage are now available for just a few hundred quid.

What might  this mean for your business? As costs continue to drop and more and more people become familiar with 360 degree video, it is inevitable businesses will want to cash in – from showing diners enjoying restaurants to factory workers operating complex machinery.


 

Find out how Holyrood PR in Edinburgh could help your business with video production

We believe any story can be told in a more powerful way with the help of moving images. That’s why our public relations agency has offered video as part of our suite of PR services for more than five years.

We’d be delighted for the chance to speak with you about how our video services could benefit your business. Give us a call on 0131 561 2244 or fill out the simple form below and we’ll get straight back to you:

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Kenny Murray of Holyrood PR in Edinburgh, Scotland

Private: Kenny Murray

Kenny Murray is part of the expert PR team at Holyrood Partnership, an award-winnning Scottish public relations agency, which offers media relations, social media, photography, video, crisis management and PR in Edinburgh.

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